Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rabbit saves couple from burning house

A pet rabbit saved the lives of a Melbourne couple after fire swept thought their home yesterday morning - six days before their renovations were due to be completed.

Macleod resident Michelle Finn and her partner Gerry Keogh were woken about 7am by their family pet, named Rabbit, who was causing a racket from his cage.

"Gerry only got home from work about 5.30 because he works night shift and about 7am we both woke to the sound of a thumping rabbit," Ms Finn said. "We heard windows breaking at the back of the house and got up to see what was wrong and the house was on fire."

The blaze had broken out in a back office and smoke was spreading quickly through the house.

Ms Finn said she was grateful to her six-month-old, black, floppy-eared companion for reacting the way he did in his loungeroom cage.

"He's in the cage during the night and just started thumping and running around and was trying to get out, I guess," she said. "If it wasn't for the rabbit we probably wouldn't have woken up quite as soon."

Firefighters said a smoke alarm had been removed from the ceiling while the back of the house was being renovated.

Firefighters donned breathing apparatus to get inside the house to retrieve the pet. His owners could not reach him because of the smoke.

Ms Finn said they had been renovating the house for two years and were due to finish next week.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade commander Mick Swift said it was the first fire he had attended where the life-saver was a rabbit. "It could have been a lot worse and without the rabbit it could have been a tragedy where lives were lost," he said.

Four fire appliances and 15 firefighters brought the blaze - which was caused by a faulty electric heater - under control in 10 minutes. Damage is estimated at $80,000.

Mr Keogh, a nightclub employee, said while he and his partner faced the difficult task of rebuilding, Rabbit had also been left homeless by the fire, with his cage ruined.

Rabbits are fabulous indoor security alarms!! This story is not unheard of in the UK & US where numerous people have been alerted to danger by their pet indoor rabbit. Just another reason to have in indoor bunny!!